Red Wings Extend Jeff Blashill’s Contract for Two Years

The news articles from the local Detroit beat writers made it obvious that Detroit would announce an extension for head coach Jeff Blashill, and on Tuesday, the team made it official.

The announced extension is two years for Blashill, currently in his fourth year as the coach of the Red Wings.

The official press release follows:

DETROIT - Detroit Red Wings executive vice president and general manager Ken Holland today announced that Jeff Blashill has agreed to a two-year contract extension to remain head coach of the Red Wings.

Blashill, 45, is currently in his fourth season as head coach of the Red Wings and his seventh season overall with the organization, originally joining Detroit as an assistant coach for the 2011-12 campaign before serving as head coach of the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins from 2012-15. With Blashill at the helm, the Red Wings have seen career years for the likes of Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Bertuzzi, who have all set career highs in goals and points for Detroit in 2018-19 among a lineup that has featured nine rookies throughout the season. His NHL head coaching record stands at 135-143-47, and he ranks sixth in franchise history with 325 games coached. Blashill was named the 27th head coach in franchise history on June 9, 2015 and is currently the seventh-longest tenured head coach in the NHL.

”Jeff has done a tremendous job developing our young talent as we continue to rebuild our organization,” said Red Wings executive vice president and general manager Ken Holland. “Our young players have made significant strides during his time as head coach and are playing important minutes in key situations. As we continue to build towards the future, we have the utmost confidence that Jeff is the coach best suited to help our prospects become impactful NHL players. He has gained valuable experience as an NHL coach in each of his four years in Detroit and has instilled a work ethic in our current team that makes us hard to play against every night and competitive in every game, which is the identity we want our team to have as we move forward.”

Following each of the last two seasons, Blashill has been tabbed as head coach of the United States for the 2017 IIHF World Championship in France and Germany and the 2018 IIHF World Championship in Denmark. In 2018, the Americans finished 6-1 in group play and defeated Canada for the second time in the tournament during the bronze medal game to mark the fifth time in the history of the tournament that Team USA has come away with a medal. Blashill previously had experience with USA Hockey at the 2006 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament (silver), 2009 World Junior A Challenge (gold) and 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Prior to being named head coach of the Red Wings, Blashill served as head coach of the Griffins and led the team to three of the most successful seasons in the franchise’s history, combining for a 134-71-12-11 regular-season record. In 2012-13, the Griffins captured a regular-season Midwest Division title and eventually the first Calder Cup championship in the franchise’s 17-year history. Grand Rapids repeated as division champions the following season and eclipsed 100 regular-season points before falling in the Western Conference Final. No team played more playoff games (50) than the Griffins did during Blashill’s run as the team’s head coach. He won the Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s most outstanding coach in 2013-14 and served as a head coach at the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic.

Born in Detroit and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Blashill joined the Red Wings organization after one season as head coach at Western Michigan University in 2010-11, where he doubled the Broncos’ win total from the previous season and led the school to its first appearance in the CCHA championship game since 1986. He finished as a finalist for CCHA Coach of the Year and was named National Coach of the Year by College Hockey News, Inside College Hockey and Blashill made his head coaching debut with the United States Hockey League’s Indiana Ice, compiling a 73-43-5 record as head coach and general manager from 2008-10. Indiana won a franchise-record 39 games in 2008-09 and won the Clark Cup as champions of the USHL.

Blashill began his coaching career with four seasons as an assistant coach for his alma mater, Ferris State University, from 1998-02, where he played goaltender from 1994-98. He later spent six seasons as an assistant coach with Miami University (2002-08), where the RedHawks qualified for the NCAA Tournament four times.

I personally don’t think that Blashill is the coach to lead Detroit in the next phase of the rebuild. I also don’t think he’s doing as poor a job as some sections of the fanbase think.

As opposed to players, it’s much easier for a team to move on from a coach, and even if the management situation changes this off-season, this extension doesn’t do much to make a coaching change difficult. The team just has to pay the fired coach for the rest of his contract, and a two-year term means that’s not that expensive, relatively speaking.